Baseball Team Opens 2009 Slate Friday Night
Feb. 19, 2009
Southeast Missouri State (0-0) at #16 Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0)
FIRST PITCH: Alabama opens its 117th season of intercollegiate baseball this weekend as the Crimson Tide hosts the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks in a three-game series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The 2009 season opener is set for Friday, Feb. 20, at 6:35 p.m. (CST). The teams will also play single games on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 4:05 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 22, at 2:05 p.m. to open the college baseball season.
HEAD COACH Jim Wells: Coach Jim Wells begins his 15th season at Alabama and his 20th overall as a Division-I head coach. He has compiled a 588-300 (.662) record in 888 games since being named UA’s 29th head coach on June 4, 1995. A 2009 Alabama Baseball Coaches Association (AlaBCA) Hall of Fame inductee, Wells is the winningest coach in Crimson Tide baseball lore. He is sixth on the SEC’s all-time win list and needs just 11 wins to become sixth league coach to win 600 games. He is also fifth on the SEC’s all-time list in terms of winning percentage. Overall, Wells has compiled a 783-389 (.669) record in 1,172 games over 20 seasons at the Division-I level. Prior to Alabama, he spent five years at Northwestern (La.) State, where he compiled a 192-89 (.683) record and led the Demons to three Southland Conference championships and two NCAA Regional appearances.
RANKINGS: Alabama enters the season ranked in three of the four preseason polls. The Crimson Tide is ranked 16th in the Rivals.com Top 25, its highest preseason ranking. Alabama is also ranked 21st by Baseball America and 40th by Collegiate Baseball.
WHO TO WATCH: Alabama has three preseason All-Americans entering the 2009 season, including junior Brandon May (Marietta, Ga.) and sophomores Josh Rutledge (Cullman, Ala.) and Ross Wilson (Hoover, Ala.). May is also a 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award candidate and second-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). He hit .365 last season with nine home runs and 50 RBI. He has started 87 consecutive games for the Tide. Rutledge was named preseason All-American by the NCBWA and College Baseball Insider after hitting a team-best .369 average with 31 RBI last year. Rutledge was also tabbed as one of the SEC’s best pure hitters and best base runners by College Baseball Insider. Wilson is a first-team All-America selection by Baseball America after a record-setting freshman year. He hit .295 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI in 2008. He tied the UA freshman record with 15 home runs. Senior outfielder Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) joins May, Rutledge and Wilson on the SEBaseball.com preseason All-SEC team. On the mound, fifth-year senior Austin Hyatt will be making his first career opening day start for Alabama. He was 5-4 with 4.53 ERA in 17 games as a junior last season. Senior Miers Quigley (Roswell, Ga.) and freshman Adam Morgan (Marietta, Ga.) will complete the weekend rotation.
Series: Alabama leads, 6-2
Tickets: $5 for adults and $3 youth (12 and under)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network
SEMO Starting Pitchers:
Sunday, February 22